Thursday, March 31, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Elaina Lee

Alek glanced over his shoulder at the oncoming traffic before opening his door. He stepped out, closed the door quickly, before venturing around the front of the car. Opening her door, he held his hand down to help her out and said, "I'm concerned about the mutual damage we will cause each other. Is that a good enough answer for you?"

The wind blew wisps of dark hair across her skin. The soft angles of her face illuminated under the streetlamp's yellow lighting. With an annoyed flick of her hand, she cast the strands away. "That's fair."

"I'm glad you agree," he said, closing the door. Stepping to the side, he motioned for her to walk forward, though he made no movement to do so himself. "Have a good night, Ms. Crisdean."

She walked up the brick stairs, pulling keys out of her purse. Then, just before she opened the community front door, she turned and glanced down at him. Alek raised a brow and took the few steps to the bottom of the stairs, meeting her gaze.

"You know," she began, "I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this little air of mysterious danger you constantly seem to have around you. But I am. So much surrounded your name, I figured you wouldn't live up the hype. No one ever does."

"You have so far."

An alluring smile crossed her lips. "Why, thank you; hopefully I won't disappoint you in the future."

This little game they played was becoming precarious, yet Alek could not stop, too intrigued by what her next words or actions would be. "Somehow, I find that highly unlikely."

"Mmm." She drew out, sending a shiver racing up Alek's spine. "Too bad you probably won't ever find out."

Alek let his gaze wander from her exposed ankles to the breeze-teased fabric blowing around her thighs. Higher still, his eyes shifted, along the smooth, flat planes of her abdomen to the soft mounds of her full breasts—perfect breasts, just bigger than what he could hold in his hand. Finally, he settled on her beautiful face. An expression of both exasperation and humor danced in her eyes and toyed at her still kiss-swollen lips.

"You keep this up, Lyndi, and I'll find out sooner than you may like."

And here's the BLURB -

Lyndi Crisdean is assigned one of the hardest cases in her career as a defense attorney. A serial murder case. Investigating is Alek Trevian, the lead investigator for the district attorney, and a handsome and supremely dangerous man. Lyndi finds herself in over her head when she chooses desire for Alek over common sense. If they're caught, Lyndi will lose everything she's worked for. Circumstances beyond her control pull her toward Alek, for he turns out to be the only one who can help when threats start to mount against her.

Lyndi may be the key Alek needs to bring down a murderous cult running loose in his city. When her beach house is broken into and a man begins to tail Lyndi, Alek can't help but reason Lyndi may be next on the cult's hitlist. The question is, will he discover the identity of the cult, keep her safe, and still win the case against the serial killer she's defending, all while losing a battle against the strong, untamable desire she alone ignites within him?

And here's the link to my TRAILER -

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Authorsday: Jennifer Wylie

Happy to welcome a fellow Echelon Press author Jennifer Wylie.

1. How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was in public school. I have always had a very vivid imagination. Writing was something fun, and helped get the stories out of my head. I wrote more in highschool and afterward, though took a break when my kids were born. I've been at it again the last few, actually jumping into it more than when I was younger.

2. How did you pick the genre you write in?

Writing fantasy is the only thing I've wanted to do, so there wasn't really any picking. :) I love how this genre can incorporate a little bit of anything. Everything and anything can happen, you're only limited to your own imagination. Of course, it didn't hurt I grew up reading mostly fantasy too and have a deep love for the genre!

3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

(Googles 'plot') ~grin~ I don't plot anything. I may sort things out in my head first, but there are no pages of notes, or storyboards or anything else. The most I may do is jot down a few notes as I near the end of the book- just to make sure I tie up all the lose ends. This works well for me, especially as I'll often change my mind or characters will go off and do things I don't expect. That is part of the fun!

4. What’s your writing schedule?

Being a stay at home mom and my fingers in many other pots, I write when I can. Usually this is in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. I have trouble writing when there are things around to distract me. During the day I usually work on edits, marketing, blogging and of course the never ending housework.

5. Describe your book.

My newest releases are for a new short story series geared toward young readers (though adults are loving it too!) Tales of Ever is part of a new short story program being put out by Echelon Press. The series contains six short stories presented once per month as electronic downloads (eBooks), much the same as a television series. Tales of Ever is a fantasy series written for young adults (13-17 year olds). The first instalment, Banished, debuted March 1st, a new instalment will be available the first tuesday of the month ending in August. At only $.99 each, the short stories are affordable for all walks of life. #2, Fire Girl will be out April 5th. I'm half way through writing the 3rd, Shadow Boy and am having so much fun. I love the crazy and dangerous world of Ever!

Tales of Ever is full of action and written to captivate even the most reluctant readers. I'm hoping to share the joy of reading with many young adults.

6. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?

I have an extreme intolerance to milk. Apparently I've had it since a teenager, though just figured this out recently and have gone off anything with milk in it. Though I feel a lot better, I'm still very grumbly. I miss cheese. And Ice-cream!

7. If you have a day job, what is it?

I have the best job in the world. I get to take care of my two boys. The house cleaning part rather sucks though. And I never get vacation. People wonder why I'm also so happy Monday comes—that's when kids are off to school and I get a little break! LOL

8. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?

Toilet paper. Chocolate. Matches/lighter to start a fire.

9. What’s your favorite food?

Chocolate. Meats I love chicken, or shrimp and crab. I love anything sweet!

10. What do you do when you are not writing?

Well if I'm not trying to be a domestic superwoman, I'm at my computer editing, or blogging, or tweeting or marketing or editing. Occasionally I'll actually have a moment to READ, which is always a super treat these days! :)

Author Bio:

Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011.

Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife. Find out more about Jen and her work at

Banished Blurb:

My life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nose dive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn’t normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.

If I’m lucky, I might survive my first day.

Buy Links:





Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mexican American Characters by John Desjarlais

Johnny asked me to say a little about my background or offer a memory or two for his guest blog with Chris. No problemo, I said, contento ayudar, amigo. I was reminiscing just last week when I visited my favorite tia, madrina Maria, back in Chicago.

So I wheel my '69 Charger onto 18th Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood near her place, and the throaty rumble of the big engine turns heads. Good street cred. I hear Norteño bands playing plaintive corridos on button accordions along with the thump-thump of quebradita, a blend of North Mexican banda and Aztec punk rockers singing in Spanglish. Ay, lemme tell you, I felt my Spanish blood beating.

Every time I pass Saint Adalbert’s Elementary in the shadow of the church’s skyline-dominating steeple I remember how in the sixth grade Sister Mary Beatrice (aka Sister Mary BattleAxe) caught me speaking Spanish in the back row asking Gloria Garcia for an eraser. Sister pulled me by the ear into the corner.

“You’re in America now,” the Polish nun reprimanded me, her milky finger in my mocha face. “We speak English here. If you want to be an American, speak American. If you want to speak Spanish, then go back to Mexico.”

I asked if there was a difference between speaking English and speaking American. Even then, Dios me ayuda, such a mouth.

Sister Beatrice kept me after school on KP (kitchen patrol) for "talking back."

“Ay, you don’t talk back,” my mother chided me when I got home. Mami’s high Zapotec cheekbones colored and the jet-black bun on top of her head, I could have sworn, was spinning.

“Muchachitas bien criadas, girls brought up well, don’t mouth off,” Mami said, wringing the dishtowel. “Do you want to be called ser habladora? A big mouth that talks too much? Is that what you want?”

“Mami, all I did was ask a question.”

“En boca cerrada no entran moscas,” my mother said, tapping her lips with a finger. Flies cannot enter a closed mouth. She had a dicho for everything.

I didn't tell her what the kids did in recess the next day. Joey Kowalski asked me if I knew the Frito Bandito and got the others to dance around a hat singing “La Cucaracha” while snapping their fingers like castanets over their heads. How could they know the famous Pancho Villa song was about Mexican heroes who bravely fought back against white oppressors? So when Joey asked me in my face if I knew Speedy Gonzalez too and trilled “Reba, reba! Andale!” I bloodied his nose with a single punch. He was too astonished and ashamed to tell Sister Mary BattleAxe what really happened and said he had taken a direct hit in the face during dodge ball in recess.

I told my twin brother Antonio about it that night.

“The boxing lessons I gave you, they helped, no?” he said, laughing. “Did you put your shoulder into it, the way I showed you, like this?”

“Stop it,” I whispered, deflecting the playful punch. “Mami says I already act too much like you boys. Promise you won’t tell her. Or Lorenzo or Francisco. Promise me.”

“OK, Oscar de la Hoya.”

“It’s not funny. And don’t tell Papa, either.”

“Oh, he might be glad,” Antonio chuckled. “He wanted all boys anyway to start his own beisbol team. Then you came along and put a stop to that idea.”

I socked him in the shoulder; he swung the pillow into my face, I threw mine at him, and soon the room was full of goose feathers and giggles.

Madre de Dios, how I miss him. I'd better stop here.

OK, Johnny, thanks for letting me share in your place. Now get back to writing the third book in this series or I'll give you a swift kick en la nalgas with my Guiseppi Zanottis!

VIPER blurb:

On All Souls Day, Selena De La Cruz’s name is entered in her parish church's “Book of the Deceased.”

The problem is, she's not dead.

And someone thinks she should be.

Is it "The Snake," a notorious drug dealer Selena helped to put in prison when she was a Special Agent with the DEA years ago? Or someone far, far more dangerous?

John Desjarlais:

A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, re-released 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval thriller, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, re-released 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press, 2009 and 2011 respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Who's Who in Entertainment and Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

John’s web site:

John’s blog:

John’s email:

VIPER isn’t out yet, but it will be available through and can be ordered through bookstores sometime later this Spring. BLEEDER, RELICS and THE THRONE OF TARA are at Amazon, too:

Monday, March 28, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Erin O'Riordan

Erin O'Riordan

Love pulp fiction? Just try putting down The Smell of Gas. TSOG is full of saints and sinners you'll love to hate. There's Brigid, the high school basketball player and secret heroin addict. Fred, a Catholic lesbian teen, loves Brigid, but doesn't know about her affair with Edward, a married Evangelical preacher. Sex, ethics, religions and mythologies clash as you dig deeper into their connection to the death of a young couple. Coming April 2011 from Melange Books.

Erin O’Riordan writes hot and steamy fiction. Her most recent short story is “Post Op,” appearing in the Evernight Publishing anthology Indecent Encounters. She blogs on all things book at

The cheap candles smoked, filling Fred’s small bedroom with a grayness that reminded her of an underwater scene. She walked over to the bed and lifted the corner of the mattress. She had to grope for a moment to find it, tucked inside the elastic of the blue fitted sheet’s corner. She held up the razor to the candlelight. The blood left on it from the last time didn’t bother her. It was clean blood, her own.

She was tired of cutting her arms. She’d covered her upper arms in intersecting highways of hardened scars, and fresher wounds decorated her arms from the elbow to the wrist. She’d scared herself the other night, cutting a bit too deeply at the wrists. She’d bled until she felt like passing out. The blood had soaked into the pillow; she could still smell its stale odor. She would be more careful this time.

She took off one of her boots and her torn black stockings. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she reached back and turned on the stereo, tuned to the local Catholic station. The music, a choir of voices singing the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, lifted her soul. It brought her mind back to her purpose. She would feel pain, not because she got some pleasure from it (though she did), but because needed it to save her soul. If heroin took away all pain, except that nagging longing for more of itself, then the pain must come from somewhere.

She made the first cut just above her knee, curving her wrist to angle the razor down toward the floor. She felt the acute sting over the thin skin there. She made another cut higher up her leg, deep into the flesh of her thigh. Fred grimaced as the blood began to flow freely. She wondered if she’d struck muscle.

The Immaculate Conception of the Escorial looked up to the heavens and pretended not to notice. The choir sang: “Lord make me a means of your peace…”

She sat there, dazed, before she realized that the sharp percussion in her ears was not from the radio station. She dropped the razor unlocked her bedroom door. Leander stood outside.

She could see the beads of sweat on his forehead, under his gently curling black hair. His wide eyes shone. He smelled like gasoline.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Veronica Lynch

Those Who Wait:  A cop and a bleeding heart liberal. The two main ingredients for a fatal attraction soufflé with the chances of falling as fast as a Popsicle melts in Hades. Or does it? Always the first in line to tilt windmills, Investigator Keenan Rossi is determined to make his marriage to victim advocate Meghan Muldoon work. He's waited a long time for someone like her to come into his life; but can he avoid old behaviors when the going gets rough?

Let's meet Keenan Rossi:

Where were you the first time you saw Meghan Muldoon? It was at a monthly crime stats meeting, maybe a couple days before Christmas. No one was in the mood to talk homicides, rape and other physical assaults, domestic violence calls, or robberies. Most of the brass were off spreading their usual Yule cheer so they sent replacements. A few of us regulars figured the tall, stacked red-head was the new kid on the block at the DA's office, sent here to get her feet wet. The lounge lizards among the regulars went on the prowl—per usual when a hot woman is within striking distance. Each one returned to the table holding their gonads in their hands.
            Then she introduces herself as Meg Muldoon, new Director of Crime Victim Services, and I about dropped my teeth. She looked nothing like the usual bleeding heart liberal we're used to in this part of Upstate New York. You know the type: shapeless dress, heavy wool socks with Birkenstocks, flowers in her hair, singing Kumbaya. No sir. This one was wearing a snazzy red blouse and black suit with a skirt that made her legs look about ten feet long.
            She stayed real quiet during the meeting—winning major points in my book--but when she opened her mouth I gotta tell you every guy in the place sat up and took notice. She asked all the right questions and didn't take the usual cop BS for gospel.

What was your first thought? Once the buzzing stopped in my ears and I rolled my tongue back into my mouth, I thought, 'Here's the woman my mama warned me about'.

What happened then?  It is not a smart move, entertaining ideas of hooking up with her—I mean, a cop and a victim advocate? I'd been around the block a time or three with relationships, divorced twice, widowed once, but I couldn't get her laugh out of my head. It makes my teeth itch. I caught a rape call on New Year's Eve; Meg was the advocate who responded to the ER to work with the vic. That's where it started between us. What she said to the vic; how she helped her relax and respond to our questions—it made a big difference and we were able to clear a number of assaults in this end of the county.

What do you two do for fun and relaxation?  I like to cook; she likes to watch. She loves to garden and planted an herb garden for me this year. I use what she grew in my recipes. I like watching television; she likes to read.

What is your favorite TV show? The Closer. I tape each show to watch in reruns if I miss the original airing. It's good at showing the drudgery of police work—and the endless litany of internal politics. Man, I hate internal politics. Just let me do my job and leave me the hell alone. Then there's Flynn and Provenza. Do you know how many of us on The Job would like to react like they do? Say the same things they say—and not get our butts in a sling?

Have your professional lives been negatively impacted by your personal relationship? For me, it is the opposite. Meghan has taught me to look at all sides of an issue and not jump to the easiest, fastest solution. Women bring an interesting set of ideas and values to the victimization process so it's important for me to remember they don't react the same as men.

What was the best advice you ever received? My dad told me this the day I married for the first time. It didn't hit home till I met and later fell in love with Meg. “Whatever you give a woman, she's going to multiply. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So . . . if you give her crap, you will receive more shit than any human being can handle.”
Smart man, my dad.
Those Who Wait, blurb

Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-road. Recently married to a man who dotes on her, someone whom she thought existed only in fiction, she struggles to balance the demands of her vocation as an advocate for victims of violence versus those of a newlywed.

On Valentine's Day, a series of routine crises force her to reconsider staying with a profession that fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who makes everything worthwhile.
Those Who Wait, EXCERPT:

“Crime Victim Services,” she murmured into the receiver. “How may I help you?”
The caller's voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”
Her heart skipped a beat. Maybe two. Lip gloss.
Well damn,” Investigator Keenan Rossi muttered. “You already heard it.”
An oldie but a goodie, pal.”
Aren't we all. How you doin' on this gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”
Bringing the face of the handsome sheriff's detective to mind took no great effort. After several moments of imagining twinkling eyes and a dimpled grin, she said, “Not too bad. How's by you?”
Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Authorsday: Mila Ramos

1. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

One of the most important things I wish I had learned was marketing strategies. It took me a while, and still learning, to understand how to do them and where to focus in regards to my books. Each year, since I have been published I try to learn some of the more important techniques to use to get to readers. Just found a new one today, so I know as each puzzle piece of being a writer falls together, it will get easier.

2. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Never, EVER, be afraid to ask questions about the world of writing and always work on your craft. As a young writer, I had no clue what to do, who to turn to and what the process was in writing & publishing. I spoke to experienced writers who very graciously spoke to me about the ins and outs of the industry as well as guided me towards areas I can use to become a better writer.

3. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?
At the time, I didn’t realize it was bad advice but it instilled a little doubt at the time. I was once told that reading books about plot development, style, and technique would destroy my writing voice. It was a bit puzzling to understand how that could destroy my voice but overtime I see how it is possible to become too mechanical when writing.

4. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Something I’ve personally wondered is if readers have ever wanted a particular genre of sci-fi/paranormal explored? Vampires, werewolves are popular but is there something that you’ve always wanted to see in a story; some sort of paranormal element.

5. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?
I love meeting people, talking and learning about the world I live in but most people are amazed with as much of a social butterfly as I am, I have stage fright. It’s easier when I have to teach someone (which I have done for a few years) but my ears turn dark red whenever I have to stand up in front of a group of people. It’s a work in progress.

6. If you have a day job, what is it?
I have a wonderful job at the moment; I’m a graduate student in Chemistry. I’m currently in my second year in my PhD in Chemistry. I love Chemistry and oddly enough that is one of the toughest subjects to incorporate in a story. Odd, I know but I have yet been able to get a true story going that relates to the subject I love.

7. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
One of the strengths I’m blessed with is the ability to make the reader feel the emotions of the characters. I love stories when you are inside the mind of the characters. That is a very important point I try to strive for as well as making the story become something to be remembered, even if it’s mythical. I love the what-if scenario in stories, and strive for that always.

8. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
Unfortunately, I have the very bad tendency to want to go back and fix stories that are currently out. I know that over time writing improves and with that improvement the need to go back and fix previous stories is tempting. There are some stories that need to be left as is, but some I have conceded to improve should it be necessary. My other bad habit is switching point of views too quickly, but I thank the heavens for the editors (friends and in-house), for catching it.

9. What’s your favorite quote?
"Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

- Albert Einstein

10. What was the hardest scene to write?
I love charged emotional scenes but they are the most taxing to write. For instance, when you know that your characters have to go through pain but it is vital to their growth as well as the story. There have been times where I have felt the mixture of emotions as the characters while working on the story. Those are the best scenes in any book.

Author Bio:
Mila was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At an early age she learned the valuable secrets books contained. It all started with the Lois Duncan book, “A Gift of Magic.” Mysterious worlds, faraway places helped nourish different ideas and concepts of the real world.
She currently resides in Texas, with family, friends and love nearby. Her favorite genres are: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Erotica and anything her mind concocts. Crazy and silly as the ideas she sometimes has, Mila has an affinity for every character she writes as well as sharing those worlds with her readers.

Echoes and Illusions –

A curious invitation mystifies acclaimed movie critic Moira Castle as she returns home to face hidden memories and answers she's not ready to hear or feel.

The Seventh Legend:

A children's tune states the key. A children's story holds the clues. Millennium has passed for the justice to be served.

The Watchers:

Watchers are sworn to uphold the Sacred Draleigh Coven. Selene is their Enforcer and Protector. Yet the Coven never prepared her for one thing – Michael.

Smoke and Mirrors:

Ana Fiore and Dakota Hastings are rival doctors vying for Chief of Staff position. Snowed-in at a conference, the doctors must face their pasts and feelings.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Ciara Gold

Thank you so much, Chris, for having me here today. The following is from Dragon King, a sci-fi futuristic fantasy romance set to release on April 1.

Back cover blurb: For decades, dragons held the essence of magic that fuelled a wizard’s power, but in 1007 AD, evil claims the heart of one such wizard while another seeks to save the magic.

Tucker Bolen considers himself a renaissance man of the thirty-first century and balks at society’s rigid cultural practices. After purchasing and using a reincarnation reader, he not only connects with his past entities, he also suffers their bid to surface and claim his soul. A collector and explorer, one of the entities leads him on a quest for dragons and a journey that ultimately leads to the greatest magic - love.

Cari Barock fears many things; never finding love, an assassin bent on taking her life, and dragons. When a stranger from a distant planet arrives, she is forced to face all her fears. With her special Deliphit powers, she helps Tucker with his quest, never realizing that she is the key to unveiling his true powers. Will she sacrifice her heart so he can save her world?


“Why you? Why must you put yourself at risk like this?”

“I can’t help who I am or how my skill works.” She sat on the bench and stared at the crowning sun.

“And I can’t help wanting to throttle you.”

“Why are you so angered?”

He stared at her with narrowed eyes. “I’m not sure. Perhaps because I just don’t like the idea of you getting hurt.”

“You have no claim on me. We’re barely friends. Sharing a night of forced companionship does not give you the right to strong emotions where I’m concerned.” She remembered their kiss and wished with all her heart something more could come of their association, but from reading his thoughts, she knew he didn’t believe in lasting relationships. She wanted a lifetime commitment. He wanted a short episode of sexual adventure.

He shook his head, smiling. “Well, circumstances beyond my control say otherwise.” He plopped down beside her.

She drew her brows together. “Meaning?”

“Zan Dane and I have struck a bargain. He’s given you into my safe keeping until we reach Pelicosia at which time things between us will change. I need your help finding the dragons.”

“Nay.” She sprang to her feet and paced. “I won’t be your nursemaid. What you seek isn’t mine to give. Dragons are vicious, nasty creatures. You’ll have to find another guide.” She refused to tell him of her unnatural fear of the creatures. The first time she’d ridden on a dragon’s back, she’d come close to falling. The combined height and speed reinforced her fear, creating a phobia she’d never overcome.

“In return, I’m to keep you safe from a would-be assassin.” He rubbed his chin and acted as if he hadn’t heard a word she said.

“I don’t need protection. I’ll become other people and blend into the crowd where the assassin won’t be able to find me.”

“You’ll lose yourself in the process.”

“My choice to make.”

He grabbed her wrist and tugged, making her fall onto the hard bench beside him. “Not any longer.”

“Let go.” She stared at his hand, feeling nothing but anger for his highhandedness.

“We’re not communicating well.” He released her. “Either we’re having difficulty because of cultural differences or gender differences. Women on my world aren’t as sensitive as you appear to be.”

She rubbed her wrist. “I’m used to a gentler approach.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He ran his hand across his face. “I’m not used to dealing with emotions. Since meeting you, I’ve been infused with all sorts of immoral thoughts and confusing moods.”

Her body went still. Immoral thoughts?

“I want to kiss you again.”

The blood drained from her head. Pinpricks of sensations settled within her stomach. Why did this alien have the power to elicit lustful urges? “Even as I am? A hideous alien creature?”

To find out more about the Dragon King visit Ciara Gold at:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Authorsday: Barbra Annino

1. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

The first book I wrote features the same characters from Opal Fire. It was called Shades of Amethyst and I landed an agent with that book and some publisher interest although it didn't sell. I now consider that my back story book for this series.

2. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Never. Give. Up.

3. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know.
I can't whistle.
4. Describe your book.
Opal Fire is a funny, fast-paced mystery with quirky characters, lots of angst and a strong, witty protagonist who has the worst luck of anyone you ever met.
5. What do you consider your strengths in terms of writing?

I love blending humor with tension and the best way to do this, for me, is through dialogue. I spent many years in the service industry as a waitress and a bartender and I think that fined my ability to pick up on the natural ebb and flow of a conversation.

6. What's your favorite quote?

"If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

7. What place that you haven't visited would you like to go?

I would love to go to Ireland, perhaps trace my family tree. I also would like to set a book there.

8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

My husband. He's so encouraging, but also diligent at helping keep me focused. He's smart enough to know when something isn't working and brave enough to tell me. I'm very lucky to have him in my corner.

9. Who is your favorite character in your book.
Cinnamon because she's tough as nails and doesn't take crap from anyone.
10. My favorite scene was banter back and forth between Stacy's ex-boyfriend and her present one.

Here it is:
Leo and Chance shared my sofa while Fiona poured the tea. She handed each of them a dainty floral cup and saucer, complete with lady fingers. I would have burst out laughing if I didn’t think one of them would have strangled me.

There was no avoiding the subject, so I launched into an explanation. Leo looked at the rock, then at me. Chance shook his head.

Leo sipped his tea under Fiona’s watchful stare, choosing his words carefully before he spoke. “This is serious. You could have been hurt.”

“I agree with Dirty Harry over here,” Chance said. “Whoever did this means business, so whatever you’re involved in, stop it.”

“Bob the Builder is right,” Leo glared at Chance. “We need to file a report.”

“A report?” Chance said. “What good is that? You need to find this asshole, Joe Friday.”

Leo gulped his tea and said, “Listen, Tim the Tool Man—”

“Enough!” I shouted. Geesh, what were we, in high school? “Neither of you gets to tell me what to do. I make my own decisions. That’s the beauty of being an adult.”

Leo was about to say something else, but stopped. I thought he was stopping because he knew he crossed a line, but when he set the tea down his head swayed a bit, then his dark eyes drooped and his body slumped. He crashed into Chance’s lap.

Barbra Annino is a Chicago native, a book junkie and Springsteen addict. A former bartender and humor columnist for Illinois Magazine, she finds the funny in just about everything. Except those Humane Society commercials, which she holds personally responsible for the reason she has three Great Danes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Sheila Goss


Shelia M Goss is the national best-selling author of eight novels for adults: Savannah's Curse (February 2011), Delilah (January 2011), Hollywood Deception, His Invisible Wife, My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum and three young adult books: The Lip Gloss Chronicles series: The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, and Paper Thin. Shelia has received many accolades over the years, including being honored as a Literary Diva: The Top 100 Most Admired African American Women in Literature. For more information, visit her website: or

About Savannah's Curse by Shelia M Goss

Straight-laced Savannah Blake’s world is turned upside down when she finds her dad, Major Blake, shot on his lawn. Before he dies, he gives her a few clues to the identity of his killer. His dying request is “Protect your sisters.” Montana and Asia are the only family Savannah has left, and she will fight to the end to save them. The pain of losing their father has Savannah obsessed with finding his killer.

Savannah suspects someone from “The Agency,” a secret government security operation where her father once worked, is behind his death. She enlists the help of Troy Bridges, the owner of a private security firm in Dallas. She doesn’t necessarily trust him, but Savannah needs Troy because of his inside knowledge of The Agency.

The chemistry between Savannah and Troy is electric, and only intensifies as the stakes get higher. They have no time to deal with their unresolved feelings, though, because the closer they get to the killer, the more dangerous things become.

Savannah’s Curse will take you on a roller-coaster ride of suspense as Savannah channels her grief into an unrelenting search for her father’s murderer.

Savannah's Curse Short Excerpt

Silence caused her to release her tight grip and look at her father’s face again. She had to know if he was still alive. He had to be alive!

“Savannah, promise me you’ll protect your sisters,” he said before his eyes closed. This time it was for good.

She envisioned Major Blake, her father, rising from the ground and stepping through death’s door. Gone was the bloodstained shirt that adorned his earthly body a long white robe now replaced it.

With Savannah holding his body with one arm, and raising her hand to wave at him with the other, she gave in to the momentary out-of-body experience she found herself in. “Good-bye,” he said, smiling at her before following a tall, handsome man standing beside him. The scene disappeared into the portal of her mind’s eye. She glanced back at the body in her arms.

All her senses were on alert. “Daddy?” she called.

The door opened as the paramedics burst onto the deck. They were late. They were a moment too late.

Some came through the house, some through the back gate—late, all the same.

She could tell people were surrounding the house. That’s when she noticed the Dallas police officers’ uniforms, in addition to the firemen’s and paramedics’. So many uniforms of different types were there. Her eyes fluttered, but she held on to the moment. This was not a time to give in to the mental overload.

With tears streaming down her face, Savannah kissed her father on his forehead for the last time before those men, with forcefulness and tactless hands, shoved her out of the way. “Excuse me, miss,” one said, noticing her falling back onto the deck with a thud.

As she watched them work, she could only think of their poor timing. They were seconds too late to save the one man in her life who never disappointed her, and who meant the world to her. Major Blake died in her arms, but his legacy would live on.

Soon they, too, would want to know the answers to what she already questioned. Who had killed her father?

But what they didn’t know was that Savannah had made a vow—whoever it was, they would not go unpunished.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense Tour: Ursula Grey

Ursula Grey answers my questions.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since I was a wee lass. The magic contained in the books of my childhood made me want to become a writer. I loved visiting my local public library and leaving with an armful of books. Still do.

2. How did you pick the genre you write in?

So far I've written a mainstream contemporary romance with elements of suspense, and also three erotic historical romances. I'd like to try my hand at something more literary one day. I write what I like to read!

3. What’s your favorite quote?

One of my favorite quotes is by English novelist, George Eliot: "It's never too late to be who you might have been." I find it very inspirational in that it mirrors my personal philosophy regarding the pursuit of happiness. I think it's always important to have a goal to accomplish or a dream to make come true.

4. What authors do you admire?

Several actually! They cross different genres, and in no particular order, some of my favorite novelists are: Rose Tremain, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Harris, and Sandra Gulland. Now that I have a Kindle I've started to explore lesser known Indie authors whose work I find impressive. I love how online publishing has leveled the playing field. It provides authors with a platform to share their work and let readers decide who and what they like.

5. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?

Definitely Greece, specifically the island of Crete. I am fascinated by the culture of the early Minoans, the first advanced civilization of Europe. They were a peaceful and artistic people. I'd really love to visit the Palace of Knossos, see the amazing wall frescoes, and basically walk in the footsteps of the ancients!

6. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

I wouldn't mind visiting the island of Crete during the height of the Minoan civilization. Also love French civilization and culture ~ any time period would work for me. Attending a gala at the Palace of Versailles sounds perfect!

7. What do you do when you are not writing?

I'm either working, and when I'm not doing that, I'm reading, relaxing, or planning my next vacation.

8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

My husband. He has great faith in my abilities as a writer. Most encouraging he is ~ I think he hopes I'll be wildly successful one day so that we can quit our day jobs and travel the world. (I'm working on it, honey.)

9. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?

I'd love to become proficient in the French language. I've taken classes during college, refresher courses here and there…I think the only way to really learn the language is by immersing myself in the culture. Okay, what that really means is that I need to move to France. Did I mention that I am a Francophile?

10. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

If we're talking craft, so far it's Writing Tools, 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, by Roy Peter Clark. If you need inspiration or encouragement, it's Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande.

Author Bio:

A writer of romance and erotica, Ursula Grey has always been fascinated by the written word. A Northern transplant, she now resides in the sultry South with her husband and crazy tween puppy. When not at work, she is either reading, writing, relaxing, practicing yoga, or in route to France. Her ebooks are available at Amazon, Are, Mobipocket, Bookstrand, eXcessica and Noble Romance Publishing.

Book Blurb:

Adelaide anticipates an uneventful journey—however, the man sharing her stagecoach has other ideas. Will Adelaide acquiesce to the unusual demands placed upon her by the mysterious stranger? She quickly comes to the realization that Mr. Winters wants not only to dominate her time—but her body, as well. Will she have the courage to submit?

Buy link:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Authorsday: Charlie Kramer

Charlie Kramer lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner.

She has worked in the building and facilities management industries for a number of years as both a General Manager, private contractor and author of specialised technical manuals.
Charlie is also an award winning speech writer and published short story author. Today she enjoys writing romantic comedy screen plays and novels.
In her spare time, Charlie enjoys creative cooking and watching chick flicks.
Her ultimate dream; to write a one woman stage play.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was five years old I picked up a text and penned my first short story on my bedroom wall. At five I didn’t have a grasp on characterization or character development. I certainly didn’t know the first thing about plotting. My story involved Cinderella, Snow White and a couple of very kissable frogs who naturally turned into two very extraordinary Princes.

I left out the wicked witch and the step mother. They didn’t do justice to my five year old dreams of romance.

2. How long have you been writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Writing for me is a passionate craving and every day some form of writing takes place. Whether it’s working on my novel, making notes for my next book or screenplay. I find too that I get a lot of satisfaction from writing in my personal journal and on my blog. I have been writing since I could hold a pencil. It took a bit longer though for me to create my own characters. I have moved on from borrowing Cinderella and characters from fairytales.

3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I would have to admit to being a little bit of a plotter and a lot of a pantser. For each novel or screen play I create a beat sheet or essentially a plot outline. I have the beat sheet open whilst I write. Every single time I get halfway through the manuscript and the outline seems to just disappear into some wide abyss. From there on in I let my characters lead where they want to take the story. It is their story and over time I have learnt to trust my characters in this way.

Some would say not a good way to write, but it works for me.

4. What drew you to the subject of “Don’t Quote Me”?

I met my heroine Claire Montgomery in December 2008. Claire simply showed up one day in my imagination and as I got to know her I found her fascinating. Here was this young woman who thought she knew it all, when in fact she didn’t have a clue.

Claire is such a unique personality that I wanted to do her story justice and to tell the story in a different way. Then it came to me. Claire loves the movie stars of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s so why not use quotations from the starlets of this era. Each chapter contains a number of quotations from the stars that Claire applies to her everyday life. She has a quote for every situation.

5. How many rejections have you received?
LOl. I have lost count. I have kept each and every rejection letter I’ve received. There’s a quote by Julie Andrews I read when I was writing “Don’t Quote Me” - Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th. I now have this quote above my desk.
Every time I receive a rejection I simply read Julie’s quote and it keeps me going.

6. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?
I’m a Taurus. This proves rather difficult for me as a writer. One part of me is creative and passionate about writing, whilst another part of me loves structure. In the early years I had difficulty uniting the two. The creative part handles the writing, the structural part of me is used more in my writing environment, eg. Filing, administration, etc.
Thankfully I have found a balance that works for me. I give both the creative and structural parts of me equal time at the helm. Self-promotion has been a blessing in disguise in terms of that structural part of myself.

7. Describe your book.

“Don’t Quote Me” is a romantic comedy and the first of four books in the “Quotable Women” series.

This is Claire Montgomery’s story. She’s a fun loving flirt who lives life according to her own rules. Claire thinks she is leading the life of her dreams. Then she meets Sebastian Gionis.

Meeting the man of her dreams has Claire’s life in tatters and she realizes that she is not relationship material.

“Don’t Quote Me” is her emotional journey to find herself and how to actually be in a relationship.

It’s a romantic comedy with a lots of laughs and lots of heartfelt moments on the road to love.

8. What’s your favorite quote?
“It’s a blip, not a catastrophe” by Donald Trump. It’s a reminder to me that not everything in life is as bad as it seems and that I am strong enough to overcome the obstacles on my path.

9. What is your favorite word?
Proud. Not because I particularly like the word, but more because it usually appears several hundred times in every first draft I write.

10. What’s your favorite thing about your book?
I love my character but what I loved most about writing the book was the use of the quotations intertwined in the story.
Publishers often tell us there are no new plots/stories, its how the story is told. They look for something different. I searched for a unique way of telling Claire’s story and found it in using quotations from movie stars.

Book 1 of the Quotable Women Series is Don’t Quote Me .

In this romantic comedy London’s hottest fashion photographer, Claire Montgomery has a problem. Several actually. One; she remembers every event in her life by the shoes she is wearing at the time. Two; she has rules around dating. Three; her belief in monogamy stops her from marrying and four; her little hot pink book is literally on fire. She sees no problem that she lives her life from quotes of the movie stars of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Then she meets Sebastian Gionis. Sebastian shakes up Claire’s and forces her to re-evaluate her life and beliefs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Tomb With a View

Tomb With A View
By Casey Daniels
ISBN: 9780425235515
2010 mass market release
from Berkley Prime Crime

Pair one of our less interesting presidents, James A. Garfield, with a cute slender, sexually aware private detective, cum medium, and what do you get? You get this delightful cozy mystery, one of several in Casey Daniel’s series of Pepper Martin adventures.

But be warned. If you don’t like a bad pun or two, several tongue-in-cheek jokes and a huge riff on one of the presidents of these United States, this delightful novel isn’t your cup of tea.

On the other hand, if your humor runs to the mildly risqué, you don’t mind a self-aware sexy cemetery tour guide(!) who happens to be reluctantly channeling the dead President, and you enjoy fast-paced well-conceived criminally artful plots, this latest adventure of Pepper Martin is definitely a winner.

Around every prominent figure in history there swirls scandal and scandal attracts the greedy. If this author is to be believed, an incredibly audacious land swap plan was under way when anarchist Charles Guiteau fired the bullet that cut short what might have been a sterling presidential career.

That’s all in the past. What’s here and now, is a well-managed funny, and twisty story peopled with interesting characters, not the least of whom is one well-named, Pepper Martin.

Carl Brookins,

Devils Island, Bloody Halls, Reunion, Red Sky

more at Kindle, Smashwords & OmniLit!

Monday, March 7, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Maryann Miller

Maryann was lovely enough to step in when I needed a last minute guest.

Open Season, the first book in a mystery series is a new release from Five Star Cengage/Gale in hardcover.

Set against a backdrop of racial tension and deadly force controversy in Dallas, Open Season introduces Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson, homicide detectives who are unlikely and unwilling partners. When people start dying in area shopping malls, the detectives find themselves up against a killer who has his own race card to play.

"Miller spins a tight tale that's a cut above the average police procedural in this first of a new series introducing Dallas police detective Sarah Kingsly." Publisher's Weekly

Author Bio: As a journalist and author, Maryann Miller amassed credits for feature articles and short fiction in numerous national and regional publications. The Rosen Publishing Group in New York published nine of her non-fiction books including the award-winning, Coping With Weapons and Violence in School and On Your Streets. Play It Again, Sam, a woman's novel and One Small Victory, a suspense novel, are electronic books available on Kindle, Nook, and other e-book reading devices. Her young adult novel, Friends Forever, is available for Kindle readers. She has also written several screenplays and stage plays and is the Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. She lives on some acreage with her husband, a horse, two goats, four cats, two dogs, and a variety of wild critters that wander through.

Prologue Excerpt

Sarah took a deep breath and faced Quinlin in the stuffy cubbyhole of an office. The room was hot and musty. Dust motes floated in the slivers of sunshine that had penetrated the haze of accumulated grime on the windows of the old building. The scent of his cologne hung heavily in the still air. Chaps. Rich, masculine, and too easily a distraction.

Dressed in a dark, somber suit, Quinlin didn’t speak. He watched her with the careful scrutiny of a snake considering a field mouse. A trickle of perspiration ran down Sarah’s back and dampened her white T-shirt. Shifting in the wooden chair, she contemplated the wisdom of taking off her jacket, then decided against it. He would interpret it as a sign of weakness.

She thought she was prepared for this. She’d rehearsed it a million times, remembering the images, nailing down the sequence, readying herself for his opener, “Detective Kingsly, tell me what happened that night.”

She recalled the moon playing tag with a few heavy clouds, casting weird, disorientating shadows on the crumbling buildings. She remembered wishing the clouds would give way to rain, anything to relieve the oppressive heat that had pounded the city relentlessly for weeks. She remembered thinking the heat made people do crazy things.

Maybe that’s why it had happened.

The rest of it flashed through her mind like a sequence of freeze frames.

Franco and the boy turn.

A glint of metal in the moonlight.

John pushes her away, reaching for the gun tucked in his waistband.

The clasp on her purse sticks.

A flash of gunfire.

The sharp report of return fire.

Struggling to get her gun.

Franco is down.

The kid swings his gun toward John.

She fires the same time the kid does.

The coppery smell of warm blood.



Goddam it, John, get up!

Why is everything so quiet?

Where is the kid?

There’s a big gaping hole in the cheap sequined evening bag.

Every time Sarah played the scene in her mind, she hoped for a different ending. It never came. Her purse always had the hole in it. John was always dead. And so was the kid.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Authorsday: Jenni Holbrook

Welcome to Jenny Holbrook.
1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I am most definitely a plotter. I generally start out with a ‘what if’ question. This gives me a first look at possible conflict. I then develop the protagonist and the antagonist around that core conflict. From there, I can structure the basis for my Inciting Incident, Turning Points (escalating conflict), dark moment, climactic scene and the resolution. The problem I have found with being a plotter though is that my characters tend to be weak and one-dimensional. It doesn’t matter how great my plot is, without character I’ve got nothing to offer my readers. So, what I started doing was using a character chart that I got through Anna DeStefano. We use the chart differently and at different stages of our writing, but it helped me understand how to wrap my internal conflict around my external, really making my characters jump off the page. We’ve been blogging about this process on HoWW, or How We Write Wednesday. Each week we discuss either at her blog or mine, the various methods we use to develop our books through different techniques. So far, I’ve learned I’m still a big plotter.

2. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

The first time I heard Bob Mayer speak, I was in awe. I remember telling a writer friend that after sitting in his workshop I realized there was hope for me yet. He said some things about narrative structure and what he calls the Kernel Idea that just blew me away. It really made me think about how I was writing. At the time, I was very discouraged with my writing and publishing in general. A year or so later, I was still discouraged, getting rejection after rejection. I had been lucky enough to have a critique done by Bob and over the course of the year, had taken some of his other workshops. He told me that my focus was too much on my bad guy and it was at the expense of my protagonist. He had me really focus on theme for the book and the motivations behind my main character. When I started to that, things really changed.

That was great advice, but the best advice he’s ever given me is to really focus on what my goals are as a writer. To write them down, own them, and then work toward them. This is a tenant of his Warrior Writer Workshop and it has changed my writing career.

3. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?

There are so many experts out there that it’s hard for new writers to distinguish between what is solid advice from those in the trenches to what is fluff from those regurgitating the real experts. I’m always amazed by how many experts there are out there that haven’t actually done what they are talking about.
The worst advice I ever got was that there is only one way to write a book and get it published. I’m very thankful I didn’t follow that advice.

4. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?

I’m dyslexic and when I’m in a hurry and have to write something down fast by hand, I write from right to left and backward in what is known as mirror image. It totally freaks my family out. My husband says it’s a real talent but doesn’t know what for.

5. If you have a day job, what is it?

Writing is my day job, but I have taken on another facet to my overall writing career. About a year and a half ago, I started working with Bob Mayer to bring his backlist out in eBook and POD format. I started off by making covers for his books and learning how to convert the files so they could be uploaded to Kindle. We have grown, brining on three other authors and my responsibilities have grown as well. I have become the technical genius behind Who Dares Wins Publishing, managing all uploads, websites and cover design. I have learned more about publishing in this last year than I have in over a decade as a writer.

6. What’s your writing schedule?

I have to kind of chuckle at this one because recently Bob was telling me about the schedule he was going to implement to help keep him focused.

I’m a very scheduled and organized person. I have to be. My husband travels and all of my children have played or play travel hockey. Before my daughter went off to play D3 college hockey, we had at least two years of averaging about 160 games a season in at least two countries. My calendar is color-coded and I have a real hard time adjusting when something upsets my carefully planned day.

Every day my schedule is different. I’m big on to-do lists, so at the end of one day, I look at what is going on for the next day and I plan accordingly. I do try to write or do something with my current WIP everyday.

7. What do you do when you are not writing?

Watch my kids play hockey. When I’m not doing that I’m working on something for Who Dares Wins Publishing. If I’m not doing that, I’m either watching a movie or TV show. If I’m not doing that, I’m reading a book.

8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

My children. As much as they pick on me because I talk to imaginary friends and spend my free time on twitter talking to strangers, they inspire and encourage every day.

9. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

There are a lot of really good writing books out there and I think its good for writers to pick up a variety and check them out to see what resonates with them.

I always have on my desk The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas and Stein on Writing by Soul Stein. There are other excellent books such as Stephen King’s On Writing, which I would also recommend.

10. Where do you write?

I have an office in my house. I prefer to write there, but have learned to write anywhere, including the hockey rinks while I’m waiting for practice to be over. For some reason, I get a ton of writing done on airplanes. I really don’t know why that is because I dislike flying so much, but I know when I’m on the plane, I will write about as fast as the plane is going.

Author Bio
Jennifer Holbrook-Talty co-created Who Dares Wins Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer, an independent Publisher and helps run the day-to-day administrative side of the company. She is published in romance under the pen names of Jenni Holbrook and Hollie Brooks. She also teaches Creative Writing at various writing conferences across the country. She is the Rochester’s Writing Examiner for and does freelance editing and technical writing.

Book Blurb

Who Dares Wins Publishing was originally created by Bob Mayer and Jennifer Holbrook-Talty as a platform to reissue his extensive backlist, breathing new life into them. With the great success they had with the re-publication of books like the Altantis Series, WDWPUB opened their doors to other authors and their backlist, such as the best selling book Complete Kitten Care. WDWPUB has also opened their doors to new authors in Non-Fiction with books like We Are Not Alone The Writer's Guide to Social Media. WDWPUB will be launching a Write It Forward series dedicated to helping authors achieve their dreams.